What are some clues that would show you that one of your players might be experiencing this kind of stress response, that their smoke detector is going off?
These are some of the signs of stress responses:
- Shutting down
- Violent outbursts
- Emotional dysregulation (or impairment)
- Low sociability
- Lack of self-awareness
- Disengagement and unwillingness to participate
These are behaviors and conditions that come with triggers.
When you see these stress responses, you have to understand that although girls do have coping mechanisms, many of them get overwhelmed or compromised. To use coping skills, girls need access to the prefrontal cortex. This access is often shut down because of stress.
Remember, a trigger is anything that sets off the amygdala. Triggers are important for you as a coach to understand because they are the things that set off your players. The more you understand them, the more you will be able to prevent them. For example, you can avoid being a girl’s trigger and help girls navigate the triggers that are out of your control. 
Girls will show up as they are. They won’t show up with a case file or a long list of what has happened to them. You will only be able to assess your girls through their behavior.
As a coach, you cannot push them to talk before they are ready. It is your job to create a safe space, build close relationships, and pay attention to their behavior. Over time, you’ll learn more from the girls. Generally, it is crucial for coaches to become masters at observing behavior.
Why? Because behavior tells a story.
As a coach, you can help each player separate her own identity from her behavior to show her that she can grow. You must remember: just because a girl demonstrates bad behavior doesn’t mean she is a bad kid.
Even if the rewiring process has already begun, it isn’t always complete. Sometimes, girls can see positive choices and make positive decisions. Other times, they aren’t able to make the positive choice. Occasionally, they may not even be able to identify a positive choice in a situation.
The good news is that even if the brain has been rewired, it can be rewired back, which is what we’ll cover next.